Cellular traffic offloading via Opportunistic Networking with Reinforcement Learning

by   Lorenzo Valerio, et al.

The widespread diffusion of mobile phones is triggering an exponential growth of mobile data traffic that is likely to cause, in the near future, considerable traffic overload issues even in last-generation cellular networks. Offloading part of the traffic to other networks is considered a very promising approach and, in particular, in this paper, we consider offloading through opportunistic networks of users' devices. However, the performance of this solution strongly depends on the pattern of encounters between mobile nodes, which should therefore be taken into account when designing offloading control algorithms. In this paper, we propose an adaptive offloading solution based on the Reinforcement Learning framework and we evaluate and compare the performance of two well-known learning algorithms: Actor-Critic and Q-Learning. More precisely, in our solution the controller of the dissemination process, once trained, is able to select a proper number of content replicas to be injected into the opportunistic network to guarantee the timely delivery of contents to all interested users. We show that our system based on Reinforcement Learning is able to automatically learn a very efficient strategy to reduce the traffic on the cellular network, without relying on any additional context information about the opportunistic network. Our solution achieves a higher level of offloading with respect to other state-of-the-art approaches, in a range of different mobility settings. Moreover, we show that a more refined learning solution, based on the Actor-Critic algorithm, is significantly more efficient than a simpler solution based on Q-learning.


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